Observers Greet Education Dept.’s Ratings Plan With Heavy Skepticism

For the past 16 months, the Obama administration’s plan to rate colleges has been one of the most talked-about issues in higher education. On Friday morning the Education Department’s draft plan arrived with a whimper, as news outlets and observers quickly remarked that the so-called framework was less a rough draft than a bare-bones outline of what an eventual system might feature.

It is worth noting right off the bat that many observers now believe, if they didn’t before the draft was released…


Arizona State U. Will Take Over Thunderbird Business School

Arizona State University has reached a deal to take over the Thunderbird School of Global Management, ending the business school’s quest to shore up its finances by attracting a buyer, The Wall Street Journal reports. Arizona State will pay off roughly $22-million of Thunderbird’s debts, and the business school will keep most of its faculty and staff.

Thunderbird reached a deal last year to be taken over by the for-profit company Laureate Education Inc., but alumni protested and the school’s acc…


Career Education Corp. Will Sell 16 Campuses

The Career Education Corporation will sell off its 16 culinary-arts campuses, though the for-profit educator has not identified a buyer, according to a corporate filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Career Education said the decision had been made after “an ongoing portfolio review undertaken to evaluate the strategic direction of the company.” It added that it expects to sell the campuses within 12 months but could not estimate how much it would cost to find a buyer.

“We are…


Judge Will Resign From Ohio State’s Board After Ethics Inquiry

A federal judge has agreed to resign as a member of Ohio State University’s Board of Trustees after an ethics commission found that he violated state rules by serving as a trustee and an adjunct professor at the university’s law school. Judge Algenon L. Marbley’s resignation is part of a settlement reached with the Ohio Ethics Commission.

The group said it had agreed to the settlement because it did not find that Judge Marbley had used his position to gain disproportionate compensation as a law professor. The commission’s inquiry began after Ohio State lawyers self-reported the judge’s position as a trustee and a paid professor.

In a statement, Marbley wrote that he has been “diligent in disclosing all information about my professional roles” at Ohio State, but that he is resigning “as a means of resolving any possible questions and laying this matter to rest.”

“Whether I agree with the commission’s final direction is not relevant,” he added. “I respect their authority, and I strive to assure that my conduct is viewed at all times as ethical and appropriate. That is why I act now to resolve this matter fully.”

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Rick Perry Declines to Have Building at Texas A&M Renamed for Him

Academic-building names don’t get any less controversial than Texas A&M University’s Academic Building, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has declined to have the 100-year-old building renamed for him, The Texas Tribune reports, a measure the university system’s Board of Regents was scheduled to approve on Thursday. But the regents canceled the meeting after Mr. Perry said he wouldn’t accept the honor.

“I want the Academic Building to be called the Academic Bu…


U. of Cincinnati Will Change Websites After They Are Said to Violate Disability Laws

[Updated (12/18/2014, 2 p.m.) with comment from the University of Cincinnati.]

For the second time in less than a week, the U.S. Education Department has found that a university’s websites didn’t comply with two federal disability laws. The department announced on Thursday that the University of Cincinnati had agreed to make a series of policy changes after finding that “portions of the school’s websites were not readily accessible to persons with disabilities.”

Among other changes, the universi…


U. of Michigan Professor Takes Heat for Writing ‘I Hate Republicans’

[Updated (12/18/2014, 5:28 p.m.) with comment from Ms. Douglas and a link to her essay.]

The chair of the communications department at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is under fire, reports the Detroit Free Press, for a blog post she wrote that begins as follows:

“I hate Republicans. I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa, or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immi…


President of Marshall U. Dies of Apparent Heart Attack

Stephen J. Kopp, 63, president of Marshall University, died unexpectedly on Wednesday night after an apparent heart attack, the university said in a news release. Mr. Kopp, Marshall’s 36th president, had led the university since 2005.

“We have lost one of the most dedicated and long-serving presidents in the 177-year history of Marshall University,” said Michael Sellards, chairman of the Board of Governors, in the news release. “We ask that you keep President Kopp’s wife, Jane, and two children,…


Judge Rejects Proposed Settlement of NCAA Concussions Lawsuit

A federal judge has rejected the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s proposed $75-million settlement of a class-action lawsuit involving athletes’ head injuries, portraying the deal as too unwieldy and potentially underfunded, the Associated Press reports. But the 21-page opinion, issued on Wednesday by Judge John Z. Lee of the U.S. District Court in Chicago, doesn’t scuttle the deal. Instead, Judge Lee raised concerns about shortcomings and urged the two sides to try to resolve them thro…


Global-Education Groups Hail Restoration of Relations With Cuba

Two global-education associations are applauding President Obama’s announcement on Wednesday that the United States will restore relations with Cuba, ending a diplomatic freeze that lasted more than half a century.

“Generations of foreign-policy makers have agreed that academic exchanges are one of the most powerful tools we have to open up closed societies,” Victor C. Johnson, senior adviser for public policy at Nafsa: Association of International Educators, said in a written statement. “The pr…